The Rockbank Inn site comprises three ruinous bluestone structures believed to have been a hotel, a store building and a stable. The site is historically significant for its associations with diggers who are said to have frequented the Inn whilst making their way to the gold fields around Ballarat.

View of the ruins at the Rockbank Inn site showing former internal spaces and a former chimney structure. (Source: Purcell)

Purcell were approached by the client to undertake an assessment of the Rockbank Inn site. As part of the conservation planning for the site, Purcell were engaged to co-ordinate a project to assess the structural integrity of the ruins, and a feasibility study and options analysis for the conservation and remediation.

The client’s brief required the consideration of a number of concept options for the repair and structural remediation of the ruins, each required to balance a number of criteria including best practice heritage, structural remediation, capital and operational investment. The minimum obligations were to make the ruin safe with the retention of as much fabric as possible and to facilitate public access. These options were produced and costed, to allow a robust assessment and discussion of potential options with the Council and Heritage Victoria, in order to achieve a positive outcome for the site.

View of the Old Rockbank Inn, c.1982. (Source: State Library of Victoria)

Consideration was given to the extent of works required and the cost of each option, and a solution achieved that met the requirements of Heritage Victoria and the client. Collaboration between the structural engineer, client, and Heritage Victoria was integral to the success of the project, and the determination of the preferred conservation option. The proposed conservation repairs and structural remediation of the ruins strike a balance between conservation and commercial considerations.